Nathan Lyon has backed Tim Paine to retain his spot in the Australian Test side for the upcoming Ashes series, despite stepping down as captain.
Paine relinquished the captaincy after lewd messages sent to a former female colleague at Cricket Tasmania in 2017 were made public in an explosive News Corp report.
It’s not yet confirmed whether the 36-year-old will play in the Ashes, but Lyon is adamant he should be behind the stumps for the first Test in Brisbane starting on December 8.
“I've got a lot of time and a lot of support for Tim (Paine),” the champion off-spinner told SEN’s Dwayne’s World.
“I love him to death to be honest with you. Tim made a mistake four or so years ago. He’s taken a lot of courage and owned that mistake. I’ve got no dramas with Painey at all.
“I'm really looking forward to seeing him.”
Lyon, who requires just one more scalp to reach 400 Test wickets, declared Paine “the best gloveman in the world”.
In his first match since undergoing neck surgery in the off-season, the former Australian captain took six catches in a second XI game for Tasmania in Hobart this week but missed out with the bat, making just one.
“Tim’s done an incredible job for Australian cricket over the last four years, and I think it flies under the radar a fair bit to be honest with you,” Lyon said.
“From inside the changeroom, he’s extremely loved by everyone from the staff to all the players.
“Talking to every bowler, you want your best keeper there, and Tim is the best keeper in the world in my eyes.
“I’ve got no dramas. I want him there.
“He would be up there with the best gloveman I’ve ever bowled to. I’m just not talking about Australian cricket, I actually think Painey is the best gloveman in the world.”